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How to Make the President's Jobs Plan Work for New York

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MEMORANDUM

TO: New York State Congressional Delegation
FROM: Kathryn S. Wylde
RE: How to make the President's jobs plan work for New York
DATE: December 8, 2009

President Obama today introduced a plan to create jobs and spur economic growth in the United States by aiding small businesses; creating incentives for energy efficient retrofits; investing in infrastructure; and supporting our export industries. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has proposed paying for job creation with TARP funds. We write to support both the President's plan and Speaker Pelosi's proposal and also to suggest several areas of key importance to New York upon which the delegation might focus as Congress drafts legislation. Please do not hesitate to call upon the Partnership for support as the process unfolds.

Small Business Growth
In addition to the President's proposal to increase Small Business Administration loans, Congress can help small and medium businesses still feeling the effects of the credit crunch by authorizing linked deposits from Treasury to banks at below-market rates. Banks could pass the favorable interest rates on to small and medium businesses that are prepared to expand employment. This type of program would give a boost to New York's banks and reduce unemployment in low-income communities which have been particularly hard hit by the recession.

Infrastructure
The Federal Aviation Administration has signaled its intention to upgrade air traffic control systems with "NextGen" technology but funding is scarce. Nowhere would investment in public infrastructure have a bigger or faster payback than in relief of congestion at the big international airports serving the New York metropolitan region. Our three big airports are the source of most air traffic congestion in the entire country. This congestion costs billions of dollars a year in lost travel time, staffing costs, and excess fuel consumption. Earlier this year the Partnership for New York City found that air traffic congestion costs the New York Metro region $2.6 billion annually. These losses are felt across the board by travelers ($1.7 billion), airlines ($834 million), and shipping companies ($136 million). But it is not just the New York Metro region that takes a hit. Because three-quarters of American flight delays originate in the New York area, these delays - and costs - cascade across the continent. NextGen funding in New York would have economic benefits not just for New York City but for the entire country.

Energy Efficient Retrofits
Commercial buildings in New York City alone emitted more than 11 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2008, representing 21% percent of the city's total GHG output. By including commercial buildings in a national retrofitting effort the federal government will get a much bigger bang for its buck than if only available to homeowners.

Increasing Exports
The President also mentioned the need to support America's export industries. A leading export for New York is digital content, but the industry is heavily burdened by theft --reducing the profitability of exports. Other countries are moving to protect their industries that depend upon digital content. In October, France's Supreme Court approved a law to deny Internet access to people who illegally copy movies, music, or other media. Strong protections for intellectual property should be included in the jobs bill as they will accelerate economic recovery, particularly in New York, home to thousands of companies that create and sell this form of media.